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Press Release

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 4
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Matthew Gorton (212) 442-1500


CHARTER REVISION COMMISSION ANNOUNCES EXPERT PANEL FOR VOTER PARTICIPATION ISSUE FORUM

Voter Participation is the second topic considered by the Commission during its month-long series of Issue Forums held in all five boroughs

The New York City Charter Revision Commission will hold the second of five "Issue Forums" tomorrow in the Bronx, focusing on voter participation.  Addressing the Commission will be four experts on the issue:  J. Phillip Thompson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; David R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society; Lorraine C. Minnite, Barnard College; and Harry Kresky, a leading election attorney and former Charter Revision Commissioner. 

TOPIC: Voter Participation
PLACE: Lehman College
250 Bedford Park Boulevard West
Music Building
BRONX
DATE: June 2, 2010 - 6 p.m.

At tomorrow's forum, the Commission will invite testimony from the expert panel and will accept public comment on the issue. Those wishing to testify can begin signing up one half-hour prior to the start of the forum.  Anyone wishing to testify will be given the opportunity to do so regardless of when they arrive. 

The forum is open to the public and will be streamed live via webcast through the Commission's website at www.nyc.gov/charter

J. Phillip Thompson
Associate Professor of Urban Politics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
An urban planner and political scientist, Phil Thompson is currently an Associate Professor of Urban Politics at MIT.  He received a B.A. in Sociology from Harvard University in 1977, a Master's degree in urban planning from Hunter College in 1986, and a PhD. in Political Science from the CUNY Graduate Center in 1990.  Thompson worked as Deputy General Manager of the New York Housing Authority and as Director of the Mayor's Office of Housing Coordination.  He is a frequent advisor to trade unions in their efforts to work with immigrant and community groups across the United States.

Thompson's most recent academic work includes a 2004 review of public health interventions in poor black communities (written with Arline Geronimus) published in the Du Bois Review entitled "To Denigrate, Ignore, or Disrupt: The Health Impact of Policy-induced Breakdown of Urban African American Communities of Support," an article entitled "Judging Mayors" in the June 2005 issue of Perspectives on Politics, and a book called Double Trouble: Black Mayors, Black Communities and the Struggle for Deep Democracy published in 2006 by Oxford University Press.  After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, Thompson worked with the AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation and with local community groups to create affordable housing and workforce development initiatives to help rebuild New Orleans.  Currently, he is working with community groups, labor unions, and local government officials to encourage large-scale energy efficiency initiatives in urban areas through a collaborative called Emerald Cities.

David R. Jones
President and CEO, Community Service Society
Since 1986, David R. Jones has been President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Service Society of New York (CSS), a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that promotes economic advancement and full civic participation for low-income New Yorkers.   An outspoken advocate for low-income New Yorkers, Jones writes bi-weekly newspaper columns in the New York Amsterdam News and El Diario/La Prensa that serve to educate the public and government officials on issues of importance to minority and poor communities. 

Jones served on Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's transition committee, is Vice Chair of the Independent Budget Office's Advisory Committee and serves on the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene's Advisory Council.  He is a board member of the Scherman Foundation, the Nation Institute, and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, a leading philanthropic watchdog organization.

From 1996 to 2000, Jones was Chairman of the Board of Carver Federal Savings Bank, the largest African-American managed bank in the nation.  He was a long-serving Trustee of Wesleyan University, where he is currently Trustee Emeritus.  Jones served on the board of the City's Health and Hospitals Corporation and was Vice Chairman of the Primary Care Development Corporation, which finances health care programs and facilities in medically underserved communities.  From 1983 to 1986, he served as Executive Director of the New York City Youth Bureau, and from 1979 to 1983, was Special Advisor to Mayor Edward I. Koch handling race relations, urban development, immigration reform, and education.

Jones interned for Senator Robert F. Kennedy while receiving his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.  He received a law degree from Yale in 1974, and clerked for Judge Constance Baker Motley.  Jones is a recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship.  Prior to his nonprofit and public service careers, he specialized in corporate antitrust cases and contract litigation at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

Lorraine C. Minnite
Assistant Professor of Political Science, Barnard College
Lorraine C. Minnite has taught American and urban politics at Barnard College since 2000.  Prior to that, she was the Associate Director of the Center for Urban Research and Policy at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs.  Her research is concerned with issues of inequality, social and racial justice, political conflict, and institutional change.  Minnite has consulted with various labor, advocacy, and governmental organizations which have relied on her expertise in voting, public policy, and demographic patterns in New York City. 

Minnite has published on various aspects of political participation, immigration, voting behavior, and urban politics.  She is finishing a book on the politics of electoral rules that is tentatively titled, The Politics of Voter Fraud.  With Frances Fox Piven and Margaret Groarke she is co-author of Keeping Down the Black Vote: Race and the Demobilization of American Voters, forthcoming from The New Press.  Minnite holds a B.A. in History from Boston University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from CUNY.

Harry Kresky
Law Office of Harry Kresky, New York City
Harry Kresky is a 1971 graduate of Columbia Law School where he served as an editor of the Columbia Law Review.  He is currently in private practice in New York City.  He is one of the country's leading election attorneys and has represented independent voters, candidates and parties for the past 30 years as well as insurgents seeking ballot access in major party primaries.

Kresky was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to serve on the 2002 New York City Charter Commission.  He serves as counsel to the New York City organizations of the Independence Party.  He has been appointed to Chair the Election Law Committee of the New York County Lawyers Association, and is currently the Chair of the Ballot Access Subcommittee of the Election Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

Kresky has written extensively on election reform issues. An op-ed he authored in support of open primaries recently appeared in the Sacramento Bee.  He presently represents eleven non-aligned voters in federal litigation defending Idaho's open primary system.  He serves as counsel to independentvoting.org.  In 2007-2008 he teamed with attorneys from the law firm of Holland and Knight to prevent the destruction of historic St. Brigid's Church in lower Manhattan.



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